Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tribute to Pen-ek in Bangkok's Italian Film Festival

Bangkok's annual Italian Film Festival is set for next month, and this year's edition is one of the biggest and most ambitious in terms of programming.

Not only will the Moviemov Italian Film Festival show a line-up of contemporary Italians films as it has in the past, this year they have added a selection of classic films – a retrospective on comedy director Mario Monicelli, who died last year.

And, in the spirit of Thai-Italian cultural exchange, the Italian Film Festival will show two films by Pen-ek Ratanaruang.

Also, according to the festival website, Pen-ek will receive the Best Thai Director 2011 Award from Italy's Ciak magazine in Rome this year.

Pen-ek's chosen two of his movies for the fest:

  • Ploy, 2007 – A jet-lagged Thai-American couple (Pornwat Sarasin and soap actress Lalida Panyopas) check into a Bangkok hotel after a long-haul flight from the U.S. and their tenuous marriage is tested when the husband invites a young woman (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk) up to their room. Meanwhile, the hotel's bartender (Ananda Everingham) is engaged in a playful tryst with a maid (Porntip Papanai). Ploy premiered in the Directors' Fortnight program at the Cannes Film Festival. Pen-ek will present the film along with Goffredo Bettini, artistic director of Moviemov, and Piera Detassis, artistic director of the International Rome Film Festival and director of Ciak Magazine.
  • Last Life in the Universe, 2003 – Tadanobu Asano stars in this quirk-filled black comedy as an eccentric, suicide-obsessed librarian living in Bangkok, hiding from his secret past. Violent circumstances lead him to take up with a young Thai woman (Sinitta Boonyasak) at her ramshackle house by the sea. Last Life is one of a pair of pan-Asian co-productions Pen-ek did with Asano and cinematographer Christopher Doyle (the other is 2006's Invisible Waves). The cast also includes cult Japanese actor Riki Takeuchi and a cameo by filmmaker Takashi Miike. Asano received the Upstream Prize for Best Actor at the 2003 Venice Film Festival.

Pen-ek just wrapped up his Shoot the Music concert down in Hua Hin over the weekend and is still at work editing his latest feature Headshot.

With the honors coming from Rome, I wouldn't be surprised to see Headshot screening at the festival there this fall.

The full line-up of the Italian Film Festival is over at the Bangkok Cinema Scene blog.

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